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IDRC is responding to the urgent need for action on climate change by launching new, innovative programming, leveraging deep climate research experience and enabling new forms of collaboration. 

Low- and middle-income countries are the most affected by climate change and hot spots (areas where the effects of climate change are strongly felt and where there are large vulnerable populations) have the greatest need for innovative solutions. COVID-19 has compounded climate-related risks and laid bare the fragility of global systems in coping with multiple concurrent shocks. 

Guided by Strategy 2030 and by significant experience, IDRC invests in climate-resilient development research, through adaptation tools, capacity and system-building to respond to urgent local needs, strong Southern-led scientific approaches, inclusive decision-making on climate action and innovation for a low-carbon future that benefits all.  


The depth and breadth of current programming in support of innovative climate action reflects IDRC’s commitment to innovative solutions and new and strengthened forms of collaboration. 

Climate adaptation and resilience 

There is a critical need for collaborative, systems-level, action-oriented research to enable a more climate-resilient future for everyone. The Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) initiative aims to address this gap. CLARE is a Canada-UK partnership to enable socially inclusive and sustainable action to foster resilience to climate change and natural hazards for people across the Global South. Co-funded and designed by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and IDRC, the CLARE partnership enables socially inclusive and sustainable action to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to risks from climate change and natural hazards for the most vulnerable. 

Rights and good governance through climate action

Delivering on climate mitigation and adaptation while ensuring that the rights and needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations are protected or improved is an emerging priority worldwide.  

IDRC programming builds on lessons learned in past governance and justice research on legal empowerment and natural resource, to identify approaches that bring the voices of the most vulnerable, as well as Indigenous and feminist perspectives, to decision-making on climate action. For example, research on justice in a changing climate is informing national adaptation plans in Bangladesh, Chile and Peru.  

Supporting southern science  

IDRC works on the basis that researchers in lower- and middle-income countries are best placed to decide what evidence is needed to help find solutions for problems in their communities. Through ongoing support of the MS4CR program at AIMS (the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences), IDRC is helping mathematical scientists, including women mathematical scientists, to contribute to climate change solutions for Africa.  

IDRC’s continued support of the OWSD – Early Career Fellowship Program resulted in support of several women climate scientists. See examples of their work in the first six of these films. For example, Dr. Maryse Nkoua is helping to bring renewable energy to the Congo by building a hybrid grid system using biomass and solar panels to fuel communities without electricity. 

A green and prosperous future 

Decision-makers need evidence on the policies and practices that can mitigate climate change while supporting an inclusive and gender-equal economic future. IDRC supports research to address the gender barriers that hinder women’s access to economic opportunities in a low-carbon world.  

Twelve research teams are exploring promising women-led solutions for green economies, including innovations in agriculture, forestry, land restoration and tourism. Research in West Africa is testing cleaner technologies and innovations that reduce the burden of unpaid domestic care work and the carbon footprint of households.   

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are driven by a vision of a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. Climate change threatens to undermine that vision by affecting every facet of a healthy, inclusive and prosperous life, from the food we eat to the homes we live in and from where we work to how we manage threats to our health. The need for action is urgent. IDRC is focused on ensuring that action is innovative, inclusive, sustainable and based on sound evidence.  

Results and insights

Top image: IDRC/Tom Pilston, Georgina Smith/WRENmedia, Jocelyn Carlin/Panos Pictures, Frederic Noy/Panos Pictures